Monday, February 8, 2010

Things are Heating Up

ReedNews Update:
February Edition

The hot season is upon us full force, and now, after months basking in the relief of a non-Liberia climate, I must say that Accra and Monrovia are feeling very similar this time of year. True, there is an afternoon breeze here, and I don’t think the humidity is quite as high as in Monrovia as we are several miles from the beach. But hot and humid it is. The daytime temps are consistently in the mid 90sF (mid 30s C), and slowly drop to about 80F (27C) by morning.

Inside the house, the temp rarely falls below 85F (29C), so you can imagine our bedtimes. We are thankful for the fans, but at these temps one does not feel cool, just not as hot as it would otherwise be. We are debating getting an air conditioner, and I mean debating, with the men on one side and the women on another. Its an old argument-- how much relief should we allow ourselves while so many we seek to serve live without. We all agree its a matter of stewardship-- but of what? You can guess who is taking which position.

We have also started what will be the busiest season of activity in a long time for the two of us. With a week in Mali still fresh on my mind and plenty of work to do because of it, we are preparing for two and a half months of frequent flying:

February10-12-- Renita and I fly northwest to Kumasi, Ghana's second-largest city, and from there travel overland to a village of some interest to Renita in her Partners Worldwide role as facilitator of economic development. We want to see what the Ghanaians are already doing and learn from them, then maybe discuss how to work together. I'll be along to learn and provide comic relief. It is rare that we can do something together-- this gets us both out of Accra and more into that other Ghana. Romantic, huh?

February 18- 28-- Renita begins her two week visit West. First stop, Liberia, where she'll be heading a seven-person delegation of North Americans to visit the various offices of LEAD inc, which is humming along nicely. She'll be delivering "Business as Mission" and "Customer Satisfaction" workshops in four cities, which means bumpy dusty travel, first south along the coast to Buchanan, then northeast from Monrovia to Gbarnga and Ganta.

February 28- March 5-- Renita heads with a guest to Danane' Cote d'Ivoire to meet with the folks of ACLCP. Again this will be overland on very poor roads, but at least the roads will be dry. They'd be looking at more appropriate technologies for agriculture. She will not be returning on a motorcycle..

Click on map below to see a larger version.

March 7-16 About as soon as Renita gets back, I'm off for eleven days to Nigeria, mostly in Makurdi. I will be facilitating conversations with church and community leaders to name injustice/gender/cultural issues which stand in the way of various development initiatives-- and how these can be effectively addressed in sustainable ways without creating dependence. The exciting thing about this for me is the possibility of using conflicting perspectives to bring about greater understanding.

March 16-18 I hope to do some visiting in Jos, not only for personal reasons, but to discuss ways the CRWRC may be able to be more strategic in the sectarian violence that has claimed so many lives there recently.

April 5-17 Yers Trooly will head up to Dakar, Senegal, where I will spend time working with the board of one of our partner organizations, as well as the church leaders of the denominations represented in the board. Our hopes are to bring greater clarity and functionality to a drifting group that needs so it can better serve the many villages in its charge. In addition, I hope to be visiting another agency serving adolescents, and perhaps offer a participatory workshop on reducing stigma and prejudice. .

Of course, in all of this we'll keep you in the loop. And we'll let you know how the "Great Air Conditioner Debate of Aught Ten" turned out. Stay Tuned.

click on this image.